23, Jun, 24

Amazing Common Turn-Three Death Combo Dominates Major Event!

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Article at a Glance

Modern Horizons 3 is a very powerful set, and it has brought a bunch of different combo decks to the forefront of various formats. The additions of Nadu, Winged Wisdom and Ruby Medallion to Modern have completely shifted the metagame. Meanwhile, Necrodominance has become one of the most feared engines in Legacy.

The release of MH3 has even given rise to a brand-new combo deck in Pauper. Basking Broodscale is a hell of a common, and players were quick to point out a variety of powerful synergies when it was first spoiled. Now, it appears that the combo of Basking Broodscale and Sadistic Glee is finally getting its time in the spotlight. A unique Jund shell maximizing this combo just recently made top four of a Magic Online Pauper Challenge. Before we look closer at the deck’s supporting cast, though, it’s important to go over exactly how the combo works.

Executing the Combo

Basking Broodscale

The main combo in Pauper revolves around two keys cards: Basking Broodscale and Sadistic Glee. Basking Broodscale is a two-mana 2/2 that allows you to pay an additional two mana to put a +1/+1 counter on it. Then, when you put a +1/+1 counter on Basking Broodscale, you get an Eldrazi Spawn token for your troubles.

Notably, while you can only Adapt Basking Broodscale when there are no counters on it, you still get to generate Eldrazi Spawn tokens if counters are put on Basking Broodscale from other sources. This is what makes Basking Broodscale so powerful, and what enables Basking Broodscale to combo with a multitude of different cards.

In this case, the goal is to enchant Basking Broodscale with Sadistic Glee. From there, you can execute the following steps to go infinite:

  • Adapt Basking Broodscale to put a +1/+1 counter on it and make an Eldrazi Spawn token.
  • Sacrifice the Eldrazi Spawn token to net a colorless mana. This will trigger Sadistic Glee
  • When Sadistic Glee triggers, Basking Broodscale will get another +1/+1 counter. This in turn triggers Basking Broodscale, creating another Eldrazi Spawn token
  • Repeat steps two and three over and over

The end result is an infinitely large Basking Broodscale and infinite colorless mana. Obviously, if the opponent has no blockers, you can simply attack them for a boatload of damage. Otherwise, you may need another piece to reliably close the game.

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Combo Support

Writhing Chrysalis

Fortunately, this deck does have some other key support elements that can make it trivial to win the game even in the face of a chump blocker. The first card that works well in a combo board state is Writhing Chrysalis. Writhing Chrysalis is most well-known for its role in dominating MH3 Limited, but a full playset of the elite common makes an appearance here, too.

As you are executing the combo described in the last section, you are repeatedly creating and sacrificing Eldrazi Spawn tokens. Thanks to Writhing Chrysalis’ last ability, if Writhing Chrysalis is in play as you combo, it will also grow absolutely enormous. In this sense, the opponent may need multiple blockers to live through the turn. Even then, they still have to contend with your massive threats that are ready to attack the following turn.

In some instances, you may also be able to win the game entirely outside of combat. This deck makes use of singleton copies of Makeshift Munitions and Molten Gatekeeper, both of which allow you to deal infinite damage to the opponent on your combo turn. With Makeshift Munitions, start by executing the combo like normal, building a large reserve of mana. Once you have enough mana, you can start sacrificing your Eldrazi Spawn tokens to Makeshift Munitions instead. The combo will resume with all other steps remaining the same, and you get to ping the opponent to death.

With Molten Gatekeeper in play, you just perform your normal combo steps, and Molten Gatekeeper will deal the opponent damage each time an Eldrazi Spawn enters. Molten Gatekeeper does have Unearth, so in some games, it’s worth waiting for your combo turn to bring it back to play.

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Digging for the Pieces

Deadly Dispute

Most of the rest of the deck is made up of cards that dig for your relevant combo pieces. Deadly Dispute is an excellent tool that lets you convert excess Eldrazi Spawn tokens into card advantage. Malevolent Rumble can find either Basking Broodscale or Sadistic Glee, all while leaving an Eldrazi Spawn token behind for your troubles.

This deck also utilizes some of the Indestructible artifact lands from MH2 to enable Cleansing Wildfire. Cleansing Wildfire is a decent ramp card that, when applicable, interacts favorably with opposing lands enchanted with Utopia Sprawl or Wild Growth. Considering the rise in popularity of Ponza decks in Pauper, Cleansing Wildfire has a lot of appeal.

You’ll find a few copies of Duress and Blood Fountain in the deck, too. These two cards help a bit in making the combo more resilient. Duress can pave the way for Sadistic Glee through counter magic and removal. Blood Fountain, on the other hand, can return copies of Basking Broodscale or Writhing Chrysalis from your graveyard to your hand in instances where your combo gets broken up.

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Strengths and Weaknesses

Galvanic Blast

Overall, this shell seems to be decently well positioned in the current metagame. This deck is fully capable of assembling the combo as early as turn three, giving you a decent shot at racing Bogles or mono-red aggro. In attrition battles, cards like Deadly Dispute ensure that you don’t fall behind on resources. In some games, you may be able to win just by chipping away at the opponent’s life total with Writhing Chrysalis and Makeshift Munitions. Writhing Chrysalis in particular lines up quite nicely against damage-based removal like Lightning Bolt and Galvanic Blast, which is a huge boon.

Where things can get a little dicey is when facing strategies that can interact in an efficient manner and still apply pressure. Dimir Faeries, for example, can use Spellstutter Sprite as a proactive form of disruption. Dimir Control decks can land massive haymakers like Tolarian Terror, all while using Snuff Out as a free way to keep Basking Broodscale or Writhing Chrysalis in check.

Fortunately, right now, Pauper is ruled by Affinity, Ponza, and Bogles, none of which interact too favorably with what this deck has going on. There’s a lot to like, so if you’re a fan of unique combo decks and have been looking for something a little different to play, consider giving this archetype a shot.

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